Thursday, May 29, 2008

McCain Should Tap Schundler For Veep

David Brooks has reminded us that, "recent vice presidential nominees haven’t had any effect on key states or constituencies. They haven’t had much effect on elections at all, except occasionally as hapless distractions." But conservatives have serious questions about how faithful John McCain will be to conservative principles and how competent he will be in handling issues relating to the economy. (Of course, competency in economic policy necessitates fidelity to conservative principles.) So I think it is fair to expect that McCain's choice of running mate will send a valuable signal to conservatives regarding his stewardship of the Gipper's revolution, and to the nation regarding how seriously he takes domestic economic concerns. We don't want grumpy conservatives staying home this November.

My suggestion is Bret Schundler, the former three term mayor of Jersey City. Schundler is a bona fide conservative of the sort that we were searching for in this election cycle but could not find.

Schundler is a political conservative. He believes that in order for power to be responsive to the people, government should be kept as local as possible and that people should have as much control over their own affairs as possible. That is Reagan conservatism. But it is a conservatism that is genuinely concerned about the suffering poor and, like Ronald Reagan, believes in their ability to improve their own lives when freed to do so. As mayor, Schundler empowered parents through a school choice program. With vouchers, he multiplied the number of private and public options available to parents. In politics, money is power, and so these vouchers put parents in charge of the schooling services by giving them the power to choose which school was likely to provide their children with the best education.

Schundler is an economic conservative. He believes, and demonstrated as mayor, that competition should be introduced wherever possible to increase government efficiency and reduce government corruption. He introduced reforms that reduced the cost of school construction by 80%. In doing so, he significantly increased the funds available for education without raising a nickel of taxes. He privatized the management of the city's water utility. Water purity levels became among the best in the nation while water rates went down 25%.

Schundler is a moral conservative. He is pro-life and committed to everything that contributes to healthy families and a wholesome community life.

Schundler is a conservative evangelical, but not the goofy kind a la Mike Huckabee or the spooky kind a la Pat Robertson. He is an evangelical who lives and has succeeded in Jersey City, not Virginia Beach or Arkansas.

I expect he would work very well with the nominee. In addition to being a disarmingly likable fellow...

Like John McCain, Schundler has a record of working across the political aisle. He was elected mayor with a slate of Democratic council members committed to fighting corruption and empowering ordinary people. He also crosses the aisle electorally. He won in Jersey City which was overwhelmingly Democrat (were there any Republicans?), 30% black, 30% Hispanic and 10% Asian. He was re-elected in 1993 with 70% of the vote.

Like McCain, Schundler's opposition to corruption is in the marrow of his bones. He is as honest as the day is long (to coin a phrase).

In 1999, Bill Buckley told us to watch for Bret Schundler as the Republican nominee in 2008. John McCain could fulfill that prediction by tapping Schundler as his running mate. Then we would also have a very Reaganesque candidate for the White House in 2012 regardless of the outcome in November.

(Bret Schundler presently teaches Policy In Depth at The King's College, and runs The Policy Center there. He just spent several days in Albania promoting the principles of liberty and explaining how to reduce corruption in government.)


Anonymous said...

I would love to see Schundler move up in the party apparatus--I consider him part of the strong bench Republicans have to tap, if only they would. However, Brett Schundler is the darkest of dark horses in this cycle. I'm afraid I don't share your esteem for McCain, and thus I am not looking for much, including his veep pick, that will please me. But I'm willing to be surprised.


PS...if he is tapped, you should be his press secretary

Richie said...

Dr. Innes,
I agree with Prof. Kildow.. Additionally, I think it demeans Mayor Schundler to compare him to Reagan. I can't see Schundler handling the Savings and Loan crisis in a "Reagnaesque" manner, never mind Iran-Contra.

I nominate David C. Innes for Philosopher-King.

David C. Innes said...

Of course, I refer always to the idealized Reagan, the only politically relevant Reagan these days. These blemishes are for historians to pick and twiddle at.